Small Business Application Ecosystem Trends

26 Apr

For small business owners, efficiency and cost are key attributes of the applications chosen to run their organization. Recently, Mavenlink revealed an infographic that highlights the preferred applications of small business owners and the trends on the horizon.

The first portion of the infographic focuses on the most popular apps being used for everything from email, customer relationship management, and social media, to the finance and payment processing. With the small business owners being strapped for time and manpower, there is no surprise that most of the popular applications they use are simple to deploy, easy to manage and are cost effective.

Google Apps takes the front runner position for office email, Salesforce for CRM, Paypal for payment processing, Quickbooks for accounting/billing, and Facebook/Hootsuite tied for social media management.

(Click to enlarge)

The trends portion below reveals that small businesses are quickly adopting cloud and mobile apps. According to the highlighted AT&T survey, 30% of small businesses use mobile apps for their business while 50% say they can’t survive without them- which overall is 31% higher than last year.

One of the most interesting results of his infographic shows that education is the leading industry in adopting mobile apps.

Summarizing the results and trends, it is all consistent with the “profile of the small business owner” and their need/desire for scalable solutions that provide efficiency and mobile options with a low cost. Every business needs tools that will empower them to grow. However, small businesses have a greater need for applications that will provide an “all-in-one” option to simplify their day to day operations so they can focus on marketing and promoting their business, as well as ensuring optimal customer satisfaction.

Spotlight on Best of .biz Nominee –

20 Apr

This week we are shining the spotlight on  another one of our 10 “best of .biz” Nominees, Become a Franchise Owner.

Are you thinking about becoming a Franchise Owner? Before diving head first into a franchise venture, check out Joel Libava’s book Become a Franchise Owner! The Start-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money and Owning What You Do. After years of working in the Franchise Industry, Joel realized that he could use his experience and knowledge to help future franchise owners achieve success. So he wrote a book to provide insights, guidance and advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners, which is why Joel’s site is a Best of .biz Nominee.

Check out Joel’s Website on how to Become a Franchise Owner and cast your vote on your favorite .biz website today!

How to Feel at Work in your Home-Based Business

18 Apr

If you run a home-based business, or if you conduct a significant portion of your business activities from a home office, you know that optimizing productivity can be a challenge. The key to successful time management in a home-based business is to create an environment that makes you feel as though you’re at work. Separating business and pleasure isn’t always easy when you’re at home, but with a little effort, you can strike the perfect balance between life and work.

Minimize Distractions

One of the first things you should do is create a specially designated work space. Outside distractions — television, personal phone calls, visitors — should be eliminated. Create a home office space and treat it like what it is: your workplace.

Create a Schedule

Another common problem is time management. After all, there’s nobody clocking your arrival and departure.
Making a schedule, then sticking to it, are vital for productivity. You can do this one of two ways: create an hourly work schedule and treat it as you would any other job. If you resolve to be at work by 9:00 and stay until 5:00, then do it. Your other option is to set hard and fast goals for each work day. You don’t have to watch the clock as much as you have to keep yourself to task until you accomplish everything on your to-do list.

More Home Productivity Tips

Here are more ways you can remain at the top of your game in your home-based business:

  • Do your most important work at the beginning of the day
  • Start early — this will boost your morale by making you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot, relative to the time of day
  • Create time limits for accomplishing specific jobs and tasks
  • Count all breaks you take towards your time allotment for the day
  • Push yourself to work 15 more minutes when you feel like you’ve hit your ceiling

While remaining productive when working at home can be a challenge at first, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. Home-based workers avoid stressful commutes, enjoy excellent scheduling flexibility and minimize their transportation costs.